Professional Resources

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (1-800-933-2723,

A teacher’s guide to multisensory learning: Improving literacy by engaging the senses (2009) by Lawrence Baines offers a number of lesson plans based on “multisensory learning,” teaching methods that require students to use their senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, movement, touch, thinking, intuition, and play/enjoyment. Advocates of mutlisensory learning suggest that strategies grounded in the theory promote student engagement within the context of relevant and interactive instruction.

Building teachers’ capacity for success: A collaborative approach for coaches and school leaders (2009) by Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral is a blueprint for school improvement based on the authors’ Strength-Based School Improvement model. The model emphasizes the value of focusing on teacher strengths to achieve instructional goals as they collaborate with administrators and coaches.

Content-area conversations: How to plan discussion-based lessons for diverse language learners (2009) by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Carol Rothenberg, reinforces the concept that “talk” is fundamental to learning. The book reflects the framework the authors apply in their classrooms to encourage conversations that promote learning among all students. After describing academic discourse, the authors proceed to explain lesson plans, classroom environments, strategies, management techniques, and assessment tools that promote student talk.

Detracking for excellence and equity (2009) by Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity is more than a report or case study of one school’s journey to eliminate tracking in the school district. The book presents a compelling story of transforming a suburban school district in New York from homogeneous classrooms to heterogeneous, high performing ones. The authors first define tracking then suggest the process of the detracking reformation. No stone is left unturned and chapters unveil the curriculum process for closing achievement gaps, the politics of detracking, professional development for equitable practices, methods for teaching heterogeneous classes, sustaining the transformation, and finally, beliefs that are the corner stones of excellence and equity.

The differentiated school: Making revolutionary changes in teaching and learning (2009) by Carol Ann Tomlinson, Kay Brimijoin, and Lane Narvaez is a resource for school administrators looking for guidance in promoting effective classroom instruction for academically diverse students. Characteristics of differentiated instruction are explained within the context of best-practice and authentic examples of schools with effective classrooms for academically diverse student populations. Multiple forms, checklists, and surveys complement this practical text on the differentiated school.

Discipline with dignity: New challenges, new solutions (2009) by Richard L. Curwin, Allen N. Mendler and Brian D. Mendler is in its’ third edition. Readers will recognize the fundamental principles of the authors’ philosophy and management strategies, but the examples mirror the change in students and society. Unfortunately generalizations without support from best practice or research occasionally negate the suggestions, e.g., “Most ADHD students have a particularly hard time concentrating on things that don’t interest them. Many are “burdened” by a bright mind that doesn’t slow down. School is especially challenging due to its lock-step approach. These students often grow up into adults adept at inventing or at participating in creative new ventures where lots of simultaneous ideas lead to breakthroughs. When young, however, they usually find the “sit quietly, pay attention, raise your hand” mentality that most schools require especially difficult” (p. 192).

Educating everybody’s children: Diverse teaching strategies for diverse learners (2009) edited by Robert W. Cole could easily be a companion to the Brimijoin and Narvaez book. While the latter is primarily for school leaders, Education everybody’s children (2009) is a resource for teachers and administrators. Although the steps to the strategies are not explicit, they are supported by resources with ideas for closing the achievement gap in various content areas, reading, social studies, math, science, and a section for on diverse teaching techniques for refugee and immigrant students.

Habits of mind across the curriculum: Practical and creative strategies for teachers (2009) edited by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick is a collection of lessons from an eclectic group teachers that apply Habits of Mind in their classrooms. While the editors claim that the lessons are “not intended to be adopted or copied per se,” a number of the examples are replicable. The chapter by Rachel Billmeyer provides explicit examples for creating strategic, thoughtful readers through Habits of Mind. Marjorie Martinez, a high school teacher in Houston, Texas, also shares exercises that she uses to integrate Habits of Mind with her physical fitness classes.

The handbook for enhancing professional practice: Using the framework for teaching in your school (2009) by Charlotte Danielson is an essential text for teachers and school leaders that use the framework for teaching. The first half of the resource explains the nature of the framework, the second section includes protocols, instruments, and that support teacher evaluation, professional growth and development, and demonstrate effective teaching performance.

How to give effective feedback for your students (2009) by Susan M. Brookhart is a practical text on giving positive constructive criticism to students about their classroom performance. After a brief section reviewing the research about feedback, the book launches into a description of feedback and its purpose, followed by techniques for effective written and oral feedback, content specific suggestions, ideas to help students use feedback from teachers to improve their work, and finally, adjusting feedback for different learners.

How to help your school thrive without breaking the bank (2009) by John G. Gabriel and Paul C. Farmer is written on the premise that student achievement is a function of a healthy school culture characterized by effective leadership, a substantive vision and mission, highly qualified teachers with high expectations for their students, productive time management skills, purposeful meetings, cogent collection and use of data. A variety of tools complement the strategies for developing a positive school culture, including a framework for discussing culture, a survey instrument for leadership, a paradigm for curriculum review, a work plan observation memorandums, vision, mission, and best lesson development worksheets, meeting norms, and open-ended questions for data discussions.

Improving student learning once principal at a time (2009) by Jane E. Pollock and Sharon M. Ford adapts the principles of Pollack’s (2007) Improving student learning one teacher at a time for instructional supervisors. A vignette from a practicing supervisor complements each chapter, from an historical review of supervision to current strategies for the three stages of observation, beginning, middle, and end. The last chapter focuses on assessment, specifically the role supervision plays in using testing data to inform instruction.

Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success (2009), edited by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick (also editors of Habits of mind across the curriculum: Practical and creative strategies for teachers (2009), is an essential resource for individuals, parents, teachers, school leaders that prescribe to, or are interested in Habits of Mind. It is a substantive text of 424 pages, descriptive and informative, with practical examples and vignettes about the positive affect of Habits of Mind – students, teachers, schools. .

Heinemann (800-225-5800), [email protected]

Fourth grade readers: Units of study to help students internalize and apply strategies (2009) by Martha Heller-Winokur and Marcia Uretsky, with a foreword by Isoke Titlayo Nia informs the teaching of reading to students. My concern is the tone set in the first lesson, Reviewing readers’ workshop basics, about the requisite materials of “an organized and well-stocked classroom library” (p.4, Lesson 1). Fortunately, other strategies do not assume classroom teachers have a current, vibrant, classroom library.

Good-bye round robin: 25 effective oral reading strategies (2009) by Michael F. Opitz and Timothy V. Rasinski clearly articulates options to the detrimental technique of Round Robin Reading. Although the strategies target student in grades k – 8, they could be adapted to content area high school classrooms. Strategies are clustered into three groups, developing comprehension, sharing and performing, and helping struggling readers. The chapters on assessment and parental involvement are informative with practical, replicable ideas. Explicated strategies include: Think-Aloud, Induced Imagery, Rapid Retrieval of information, Choral Reading, Mentor Reading, Readers Theatre, Read Around, Poetry Club, and Paired Reading. This is a resource I am adding to the list of required texts in my Content Area Literacy course.

Linworth Publishing, Inc. (614-436-7107), [email protected]

Teaching mathematics through reading: Methods & materials for grades 6-8 (2009) by Faith H. Wallace, PhD and Jill Shivertaker intends to provide middle school teachers with activities that integrate reading and mathematics. While the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) agree text that integrates reading and mathematics reinforces and enriches both content areas, this resource is less than comprehensive and occasionally, confusing. The annotations of the books listed are incomplete, readers must flip to the Works Cited page for complete citations. The annotations are also vague and imprecise. Teachers sensitive to copyright information and books that mirror society as well as open doors to different perspectives, may find this annoying. The activities reflect a variety of topics, Environment Print, Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability. However, the format of each activity and the answers to the questions are not consistent. Sometimes the answers/explanations precede the worksheet, sometimes they follow they follow the worksheet. The rationale for the format – providing activities that teachers can duplicate seamlessly – becomes clear after reading several activities, but the presentation remains confusing.

Stenhouse (800-988-9812), [email protected]

Good choice! Supporting independent reading and response K-6 (2009) by Tony Stead presents ideas for developing and implementing independent reading programs in k – 6 classrooms. Suggestions and resources are practical and informative, especially the various charts, graphic organizers, and rubrics located in the appendices.

Notebook connections: Strategies for the reader’s notebook (2009) by Aimee Buckner is based on experiences with her fourth grade classroom. Buckner claims that she wrote “a reader’s notebook model that is flexible enough for students to respond in a variety of ways, yet structured enough to provide explicit instruction” (p.7). The notebook model is presented in a narrative format in such a way that readers will understand the process of initiating and developing a reader’s notebook program in their classrooms. Reader’s notebook programs have the potential to empower students and develop into independent learners.

Teaching with Intention: Defining beliefs, aligning practice, taking action (2009) by Debbie Miller presents a mind’s eye view of the author’s application of her philosophy/theory into practice. The chapter on classroom environment suggests that classrooms are more than just arranging the desks. Miller suggests that classroom environments that promote learning must be neat and organized.

Teachers College Press (843-853-2070), [email protected]

The most substantive strength of ReLeah Cossett’s Lent’s Literacy for real: Reading, thinking, and learning in the content areas (2009) is the research cited to support the concept of engagement in teaching and learning and the content area literacy strategies in the book. Each content strategy is sufficiently described with clearly stated math, science, or social studies classroom applications appropriate for grades 6 – 12.